Understanding the nature of the boundaries between water masses is critical to studies of large-scale oceanic circulation and global climate change. Termed finestructure, the detailed dynamics of these boundaries are usually investigated using vertical profiles of temperature and salinity, collected at discrete locations.
Noting that the horizontal scale and continuity of finestructure cannot be well understood through these methods, Nakamura et al. used a new low-energy technique to map oceanic finestructure.
In this method, seismic reflection profiles were used to determine where the warm Kuroshio current meets the cold Oyashio current in the ocean east of Japan. Because the boundary between the two water masses is characterized by different temperature and salinity profiles, the authors were able to use seismic reflection data to determine properties of the finestructure.
Synthetic seismogram calculated from temperature and salinity data confirmed that the seismic reflections correlated well with physical oceanographic structures, suggesting that this new method will be useful for future studies of oceanic finestructure.
Title: Simultaneous seismic reflection and physical oceanographic observations of oceanic finestructure in the Kuroshio extension front
Authors: Yasuyuki Nakamura, Takashi Noguchi, Takeshi Tsuji, Sachihiko Itoh, and Hiroshi Niino: Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan;
Toshifumi Matsuoka: Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.
Source: Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) paper 10.1029/2006GL027437, 2006
Materials provided by American Geophysical Union. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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